Patriarch’s Promise- A Family Legacy; A Wine with Purpose

Our Patriarch’s Promise blend has become a Harney Lane staple since the first pour at our inaugural Dinner with the Family in 2012. This proprietary blend has been the center of many conversations and guessing games, as its contents are well known to be a family secret – and we are a tight lipped group! Although we may not be ready to reveal what goes into a bottle of Patriarch’s, we want to take a moment to share the origin story that began with Harney Lane’s beloved patriarch, George Mettler, as well as announce an exciting new chapter for this unique wine. As a very special, limited feature on our wine list, ... Read More...

Patriarchs on patio

Our Patriarch’s Promise blend has become a Harney Lane staple since the first pour at our inaugural Dinner with the Family in 2012. This proprietary blend has been the center of many conversations and guessing games, as its contents are well known to be a family secret – and we are a tight lipped group! Although we may not be ready to reveal what goes into a bottle of Patriarch’s, we want to take a moment to share the origin story that began with Harney Lane’s beloved patriarch, George Mettler, as well as announce an exciting new chapter for this unique wine.

As a very special, limited feature on our wine list, it is always a lucky day when our Patriarch’s Promise is open for tasting. For those who have had the opportunity to sample it, you know that it is unlike any of our other wines – distinct, full-bodied and flavorful, with rich notes of anise, blackberry and spices. This wine is very near and dear to our matriarch Kathy’s heart, so we love to hear the story as she tells it…

“We have some fruit on the ranch that is considered old-fashioned. Something we haven’t used here in the winery yet. George remembered in his grandfather’s day this particular grape being used as a blending grape and he thought they made really nice wines with it. So, he started bugging Kyle and Chad to make a blend for Harney Lane using this grape. They weren’t real excited about the idea in the beginning…being the stubborn German that George was, he kept at them and, finally, Chad started working on it. Three years later, Chad came up with a blend that George thought was really worth pursuing. George was thrilled and so proud that Chad came around and decided to play with the fruit to make this fantastic wine.”

Although George was only able to indulge in our very first lot of Patriarch’s Promise, we believe that it met (and perhaps exceeded) his expectations. As a final and fitting touch, his daughter and winery co-owner Jorja deliberated over the perfect name, finally settling upon “Patriarch’s Promise” because, in her words, “he had promised that this would make and be a great wine just as he had remembered it to be.” What a tribute!

George by RandyAs many may know, we lost George to cancer in 2013. His legacy certainly lives on through his family, his farm and the winery they worked to create together. In honor of George, as well as many of our winery friends, family and community members who have been affected by this disease, it is our pleasure to announce that we will be donating 10% of sales from every bottle of Patriarch’s Promise to the American Cancer Society. We are proud to support this excellent cause and know that George’s memory will live on through each bottle of Patriarch’s enjoyed!

We feel that one of the best reviews our Patriarch’s Promise has received from lodiwine.com really says it all: “Patriarch’s Promise is a direct reflection of the man for whom home, love, laughter, family (and just below that, farming and fly fishing) loomed largest.”

Patriarch’s Promise is available to purchase in the Tasting Room (open daily 11am-5pm), online here or by giving us a call 209.365.1900. If you’d like to directly support the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer, you can do that here. Thank you for your loyal support!

Click here for some of our favorite recipes to pair with this delicious wine!

Did you hear? Lizzy has a sister…

Check out this recent blog posted on lodiwine.com all about our beloved Lizzy James! Photo courtesy lodiwine.com Since its inception in 2008, Harney Lane Winery has shot up the proverbial charts of Lodi wine lovers with hit after hit of outstanding Lodi grown wines. A flowery fresh Albariño, a first class barrel fermented style of Chardonnay, a velvet lined leather glove-y Tempranillo, and a cigar blast of a Petite Sirah have all found favor among Harney Lane aficionados; but it is Zinfandel – Lodi’s heritage grape – that still anchors the brand. Which makes sense because the Harney Lane heritage actually dates back to over a century of grape growing by the same family ... Read More...

Check out this recent blog posted on lodiwine.com all about our beloved Lizzy James!

Photo courtesy lodiwine.com

Since its inception in 2008, Harney Lane Winery has shot up the proverbial charts of Lodi wine lovers with hit after hit of outstanding Lodi grown wines.

A flowery fresh Albariño, a first class barrel fermented style of Chardonnay, a velvet lined leather glove-y Tempranillo, and a cigar blast of a Petite Sirah have all found favor among Harney Lane aficionados; but it is Zinfandel – Lodi’s heritage grape – that still anchors the brand.

Which makes sense because the Harney Lane heritage actually dates back to over a century of grape growing by the same family who first planted on the present day winery property just east of the town of Lodi.  A terroir that falls well within the parameters of Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA, with its ideally deep, porous yet fertile Tokay sandy loam soil and a Delta cooled climate similar in temperatures and seasonal patterns to other proven wine regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

Harney Lane’s flagship wine is called Lizzy James Zinfandel; named after Lizzy and James, the elementary school age children of proprietors Jorja and Kyle Lerner.  Lizzy and James enjoy the typical lives of kids growing up on a Lodi farm – pruning canes, pulling leaves, driving tractors, loading up grape gondolas, running through the fields kicking up the summer dust with the dogs who are frantically digging for gophers or chasing down those wascally wabbits.  This was Jorja’s early life when her dad, George Mettler, was actively running the ranch, and probably not much different from the life of Henry Schnaidt, George’s grandfather and mentor, who planted the property’s first vines back in 1907.

Today, Kyle is in charge of farming the 60 acres around the winery, plus another 750 acres within the vicinity either owned by the family or leased from other longtime Lodi residents; including what is now known as Lizzy James Vineyard, a venerated 20 acre plot of gnarly, wizened Zinfandel vines, first planted on nearby Alpine Rd. in 1904.

When the Mettler family purchased Lizzy James twelve years ago, according to Lerner, “it was a restoration project… a lot of dead spots, a lot of vines that needed resuscitating, but we nursed it back to health and, since then, it’s produced our most award winning wines.”  Sitting on super sandy, beach-like soil, the Lizzy James vines give miniscule proportions of Zinfandels that are known not so much for sheer intensity or big, rotund proportions often associated with contemporary style Zinfandels, but rather for a svelte, focused, almost pure black cherry/raspberry varietal character that sticks to the palate like burs on summer pants.

“It’s a goofy little vineyard,” adds Lerner, “probably made up of as many as 10 different clones of Zinfandel, largely because of the continuous replanting in the various dead spots over the years” (typical of Lodi’s pre-Prohibition vineyards, not all the vines in Lizzy James are of the same age).Only 365 cases of the 2009 Harney Lane Lizzy James Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel ($33) were produced, and it was given the royal treatment of 100% French oak aging to highlight its flowery raspberry tea infused nose and dense yet fine, zesty, supple length of flavor, weighted evenly from front to back.

There is a segment of wine geeks and sommeliers these days who like to talk about “the question of balance” in a wine, and how many California wines are farmed (or made) incorrectly and thus are not truly expressive of their terroir.  It’s a shame most of them probably haven’t yet discovered Lizzy James, because this is as true an expression of a place (as opposed to a “varietal” profile) as it comes.  It just happens to be made from good ol’ Zinfandel; not Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, or other such things.

photo courtesy lodiwine.com

But wait, as they say, there’s more… now Lizzy James has a sister wine, also 100% from the Lizzy James Vineyard:  the nonvintaged Lizzy James Old Vine Zinfandel “Port Style Wine” ($35/500 ml.) – so-called because, legally, new American made fortified sweet reds are not allowed to be bottled as “Port.”  There is a reason why Portuguese grapes like Touriga and Tinta Cão are favored over grapes like Zinfandel for the making of fortified reds:  their skins are considerably thicker and more deeply pigmented, allowing for easier late season ripening, whereas the thinner skinned, tightly bunched Zinfandel is prone to bunch rot when fall weather turns inclement.

Yet Lerner, and his highly respected consulting winemaker Chad Joseph, have managed to produce a pure and bright sweet fortified red purely out of the Zinfandel grape.  This Lizzy James may not be quite as weighty as traditional Port, but is nevertheless as juicy rich and well balanced in its zesty, silken sweetness as any good “Port style wine.”  Think chocolate coated raspberries fed to you while reclined on satin pillows… any questions?  Just enjoy the taste of Lodi’s heritage!

Thank you Randy, for your great words. We love our Lizzy and sure are glad you do too!

Read the original blog here